Almond Flour Blondies

I am a huge impulse buyer – KP stop laughing! My girlfriend KP gives me crap all the time for picking up something obscure and totally not what we were out shopping for. The area around the register is pretty dangerous for people like me; lucrative for the store though.
IMG_5279My daughter had made a few almond crust lemon curd tarts awhile back, at the time we couldn’t find almond flour in our little town so she had to make her own; she is so clever. So when I was out shopping and came across a large bag of Almond flour sitting at the end of an aisle I grabbed it.
IMG_5268Since I made this impulse purchase she hasn’t made any tarts; so now what am I supposed to do with it? Oh and I forgot to mention that I was at my club store when I “found” the bag so you might be getting a clearer picture that the bag I bought was a 10 pound bag of almond flour Yikes!
IMG_5271Since Almond flour is crushed almonds it is a little on the sweet side so I think it would only be good for something sweet; though I haven’t explored what to do with it extensively that is the way I am going with it.  I made an almond flour blondie that is sooooo good.  The only noticeable difference I found was that my blondie while ooey and gooey, it was also a little crumbly but that hasn’t stopped me from making them again.
IMG_5274Almond Flour Blondie

½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

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If you need to soften your cold butter; slice it into smaller pieces it will soften quicker

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on high till they become light and fluffy. Takes about 3 minutes.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until everything is incorporated. Stir in the chips and nuts if you are using them.
Pour the dough into the greased baking dish. Smooth the dough and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15-20 minutes slice and enjoy!
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Cannoli Dip

I have been sitting here for the last 2 hours trying to come up with an appetizer that I can bring to a party that we are attending tonight. Some of you might think since I have a weekly food blog that this wouldn’t be such a hard thing to figure out. It probably wouldn’t be had I not put so many; I guess I will call them restrictions; well that might be kind of a harsh word for it. It’s more like guidelines or parameters. Firstly because I do blog about food there is this expectation that what I bring is going to be simply delicious and it better not be store bought. I was also hoping that maybe it would be something worth blogging about.

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Here were my parameters.  I am not bringing a crockpot, It has to be able to be served at room temperature. It has to be pick up and go, It cannot be “messy” as in I wanted it to be self-contained; meaning no tail to throw away as in shrimp cocktail. No bones plate for wings you get the drift. I also wanted it to be on a plate or tray that I can leave and not care about if I never see it again; I have plenty of these from my parties. Oh and I also mentioned to my daughter, that just came down, that I am fairly certain that there will be plenty of chips, dips and salsas to go around so you can see my dilema!

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In talking it out with my daughter I confirmed that it would be “legal” to bring something sweet instead of a savory app. When I think of apps I think don’t usually think of sweets. The invites were through FB and the only thing I saw posted as what to bring was to bring an app. I figured if the 50+/- people all saw the same thing and think along the same lines as I do; most will be savory and only a small few might be sweet.

Well I have decided to make the biscotti I blogged about last week. I wanted to make it again anyway and I feel everyone needs to try it; it is amazing and what better way to share it than to bring it to a potluck party filled with mostly people I know and care about. Since I already blogged/bragged about them I needed to come up with a recipe to share with all of you so I am bringing back a simple but yummy and a crowd pleaser.  

Cannoli Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened
2 cups ricotta
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + (some for sprinkling on top) mini chocolate chips

Cannoli chips I found mine at my local grocery store – you can substitute waffle cones or sugar cones

Beat together the ricotta and cream cheese till smooth; add the vanilla and sugar and mix well.  Add the cup of chips and sprinkle a little on top.

Let it set up in the fridge for an hour or so.  You can leave out the chips and add them as you want them,  The chips will get softer the longer it takes you to eat the dip. That’s if you and your guests don’t finish it off. 

Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

Last week my coworkers very kindly made me some treats for my birthday. One of the treats was pumpkin spiced muffins with a cream cheese frosting. They were in my opinion just plain awesome. I believe the exact words out of my mouth were “where have these been all my life?”  Super moist, not too much pumpkin flavor and just the right amount of spice.

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They were so good I asked for the recipe and made them last night for the Christmas party we went to. The recipe makes 24 cupcakes and is so easy to make there is no reason to not make them. I brought most of the batch to the party and left the rest at home. They came out of the oven too late for me to frost at home so I put the frosting into a piping bag and quickly frosted them when we arrived at the party.
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Unfortunately I didn’t even get to try mine. My husband put them away when we got home and when I finally came down stairs this morning, my wonderful dog; whom I have dubbed our ungrateful rescue; had the container off the counter onto the floor and had his way with them. So they are people approved AND dog approved.
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The only reason I am “explaining” this is I never got a final picture of the muffins finished thanks to my dog and I will take some of the blame, I had a little too much to drink at the party and didn’t help last night or this morning to keep them “safe”

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Pumpkin Spiced Batter – preheat oven to 350’F


1 package yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla pudding mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup oil
½ cup water
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and with an electric mixer on low speed beat just till moistened. Move up to medium for a couple of minutes. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Fill each cup about ⅔ full

Bake for about 20 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes with the spiced cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8oz) cream cheese – softened
¼ cup butter – softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cloves

Add to bowl and beat until light and fluffy, gradually add 1 (16oz) box of confectioners sugar.

 


Recipe by : McCormick & Co

Christmas Sugar Cookie

Tis the season for craziness – I’ve always wondered why we; I assume we and it’s not just me. Try to fit a few months worth of shopping, baking and cooking into 3 +/- weeks.
I always say I am going to start earlier, not do so much, not spend so much, simplify simplify simplify. I make lists; check them twice, OK at least a dozen times and I still seem to end up running around and spending too much.

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The house is super close to being decorated, we still need to get the tree and decorate the porch. If it wasn’t so cold outside I would have done it this weekend. I think I’ll leave the porch to my husband; he is used to working outside.
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We haven’t had our annual cookie making day yet, but I did find a sugar cookie recipe that I just had to try. I think what partly sold me was the picture they had with the recipe, they decorated their cookies with white and lite blue icing. My dining room decorations are the same blue and white and they looked super cool.

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LOVE my white tree – just saying


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The cookie recipe was easy to make and tasted excellent. I tried to decorate my cookies with the same white and blue icing. While they don’t look professional like theirs, mine are most definitely mine and I can only imagine mine taste just as delicious as theirs.
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Ultimate Christmas Cookie
Makes about 5 dozen 3 inch cookies – preheat  oven to 385 degrees (first thing I have ever made at this temperature)

2 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp salt
½ cup shortening
½ cup butter – softened
3 TBS corn syrup
2 large eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
1 TBS vanilla extract
7 cups cake flour
2 TBS baking powder

Cream the first five ingredients until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl.
Add cream and vanilla and mix slightly. Sift the cake flour and baking powder and add to the mix. Making sure to not over mix.
Chill dough overnight, working in quarters, roll out to ¼ inch thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters of any shape.
If you don’t have time to decorate with icing you can brush a little milk on each cookie and sprinkle with sugar.
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Icing – 2 cups of sugar with a little milk, it should be thick and just thin enough so it flows out of a pastry bag. if you want color; separate the icing into different bowls. add a drop of two of the color you are looking for.

Bake for 10 minutes – be careful to not over bake – cookies should be lightly baked and will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
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recipe: NHMagazine Dec 2016

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Tis the season for fresh apple cider! I am not a huge fan of drinking cold apple cider, I do like warm cider and cooking with cider is delicious. My guys were working a few towns away and went by a cafe in the middle of nowhere that made cider doughnuts that they raved about. Of course it took them a few months to actually bring me one home. Honestly they were just OK – I was told by the guys that “they needed to be eaten first thing in the morning when they were fresh”  Well that wasn’t going to happen for me.

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This was a couple of years ago. A week or so ago my daughter brought home some store made cider doughnuts that were just plain terrible; there was an after taste. I figured maybe I just plain ole didn’t like cider doughnuts. On Halloween my company put out some hot and cold cider and again some cider doughnuts. Third times a charm – NOPE it was not. You would think I would just give up – not me; I had some cider in the fridge that wasn’t going to last too much longer. I decided to make my own cider doughnuts. Voila’ success – finally a cider doughnut that has great flavor, fairly easy and I finally get to taste a cider doughnut that I got to finish.
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mine was very wet – I had to use more flour on my hands and board

The only problem I had was I don’t own a doughnut cutter nor a fryer. I looked a few places for a cutter, no luck. I try not to fry too much but when I do I always use my dutch oven; it can handle the high heat. I have a ridiculous amount of cookie cutters. I riffled through them and for a 3” round cutter; now I needed a small round cutter for the hole in the center. For the people reading this that know me really well; they are going to LOVE this. The smallest and closest thing I had to a small circle was a tiny frog cutter. Since I was little I have always collected frogs; I have moved away from the mass produced ones to ones that are unique funky and pretty cool. Making in happen here in NH – just saying.
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Apple Cider Doughnuts

Ingredients:
2 cups cider
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp of each cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ground cardamom
2 large eggs
6 Tbs butter, melted and cooled
Oil for deep frying

img_4668Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring cider to a rapid boil and cook over high heat until reduced by half – cool completely

In a large bowl, whisk flours, brown sugar, salt, soda, powder and spices. In a small bowl whisk eggs, melted butter and cooled cider. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened (dough is pretty sticky). Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour, you want the dough firm enough so you can shape the doughnuts.


Divide dough in half, on a floured surface pat each portion to ½ inch thickness; make sure to flour your hands and cutter(s) cut out about a dozen doughnuts.


Heat oil to 365’ and fry a few at a time. 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Fry holes a few at a time approx. 1 minute on each side. Drain and cool slightly. Using a paper lunch bag; if you have one on hand; add some cinnamon and sugar and enjoy!

 

 

Recipe adapted – Taste of Home

 

Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake

The garden is winding down a bit, and I’m OK with it. It looks like my zucchini and summer squash harvesting days are over but they were very good to us this year. I am going to go on record today and say that I am all set with making zucchini bread for the year. I even had enough very large zucchinis to make a few Christmas present loaves; I know I know I know it’s way too early to be bringing that up especially since it was like 90 degrees out yesterday. But timing is everything I have everything on hand and I am a get it done kind of person.

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So with being “all set” with zucchini bread and sharing my harvest with family and friends I started looking for something a little different. I came across this recipe while perusing my New Hampshire Magazine. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a recipe and thought hey I have all or at least most of the ingredients on hand and decide right then to get everything out and make it or a resemblance of it.

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I have way too many lemons in the fridge, I asked my daughter to pick up a couple and she bought a bag UGH now what. Reading through the recipe I had everything except coconut oil. I have yet to get on the coconut “everything” bandwagon. I did have some applesauce in the fridge that I use in my zucchini bread recipe so why not use it in this one in replacement of the coconut oil.

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I tend to always break the rule of “no new recipe on guests” I seem to use that rule as more of a guideline and always try new things on people. This time was my co-workers; we were having a birthday graze day for one and I thought there would be other things to eat if this didn’t work out.

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This is my first one using their suggested amount of blueberries – we all felt every bite benefited from having a blueberry with it. Delish!!!

Well it worked out very nicely and everyone loved it, my family loved it so much and I had to use up some more of the lemons I’ve already made it again.

Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

¾ cup applesauce – or if you want coconut oil
1 ¾ cups shredded zucchini – drained
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Handful of fresh blueberries

In a stand mixer or use your hand mixer; combine the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color 1-2 minutes. Add the applesauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla beat until well combined another 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini, beat till combined; another minute. Sift the flour, soda, powder and salt. Add this mixture to create the batter and beat till combined; do not over mix.

Grease or spray your pan and add the batter, place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Bake until your wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool, loosen the edges and invert the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting and top with some blueberries

I used 2-8” cake pans but could be made in one larger cake pan; it doesn’t rise like you would think as it is a denser kind of cake.

Cream cheese frosting
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 16-ounce bag of powdered sugar (roughly 4 cups – I buy mine in bulk)

Lemon Bundt Cake

So I was having a wonderful morning sitting on my little back laundry deck enjoying a cup of tea reading a couple of magazines leisurely pondering what to do today. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about; I always have a couple of recipes that I’ve made recently and feel they are worthy of sharing with you all; just sometimes I am not sure which one I want to write a little something about that particular day.

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Being a very busy family and lots of things going on, we have lived by the rule of “if it is not on the calendar; it is not happening” well up until 35 minutes ago I was relaxed and just enjoying a little piece and quiet. My husband went to finish up a job, my daughter was still sleeping and my son was not home yet. All of that changed in a very quick 5 minute period when Abbi came down Alex came home and they both came out to my quiet place. Them visiting me was fine, we were talking and catching etc. then all of a sudden my daughter said “it’s OK no one will be here until noon” the look on my face must have said it all; “who is coming and why?” she said I told you 3 weeks ago about ladies brunch UGH! Loved the idea 3 weeks ago, totally forgot about it and it WASN’T on the calendar.

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Didn’t know we were having company, didn’t know that there were going to be people here wanting to be fed; don’t get me wrong I LOVE entertaining but I usually clean the house, plan what to have on hand, not hang out 2 loads of laundry on the line. Ya know put on a good face UGH. I’m tensing up as I type. Ok I am done venting I think only because now I need to go take a shower.

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Oh and if you were wondering how I made my final choice of what to share with you was I now felt I needed to make something for her brunch and this was delicious. Hopefully I can pull it off in time! ***Update I did not, I didn’t even get to to finish my blog until now. Brunch was lovely and it is a beautiful day out so it all worked out and no one even mentioned my clothes on the line. I ended up making Shakshuka which is a Middle Eastern egg dish in a tomato sauce.

I will be making this sometime this week because Abbi picked up a bag of lemons!

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 ½ cup milk
½ cup canola (vegetable) oil
½ stick butter – melted and cooled
1 lemon squeezed
2 lemons zested
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
Lemon squeezed enough to make the sugar a consistency you can drizzle on the cake

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Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350°F

Coat a 10-inch fluted tube pan with nonstick spray. In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs, milk, oil, butter, lemon and zest.  Add flour, sugar, powder and salt. Whisk till smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake about 60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, cool and drizzle with glaze.

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cooling in the pan is important, apparently I was impatient as I made a mess of mine – but the flavor was excellent! 

Recipe adapted from BHG throwback